Red Sox notes: Valentine, Doubront, Johnson, Ortiz

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Red Sox notes: Valentine, Doubront, Johnson, Ortiz

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox clubhouse has been predictably downcast the last few days, but Bobby Valentine said that, given the team's performance, that's probably as it should be.

"These guys are pros,'' said Valentine. "They're supposed to be down. When you lose, you're not supposed to be happy. I don't want anybody to think it's a good thing. From what I measured (Saturday), it seems like everyone's OK. I don't really take that temperature after every game, though.''

As for his own spirits, Valentine at first joked that he didn't.

"I keep them up,'' he said. "I enjoy what I'm doing. I think it's very challenging and fun.''

David Ortiz told the Boston Herald Friday that the controversies surrounding the Red Sox have had a tangible effect on the performance on some players, including Dustin Pedroia.

"It looks like (Pedroia) is playing the best he's played this year," Valentine said. "Maybe he got to a point where he just shut the whole thing off. It might have been bothering him more than a week ago, but I really think it was (some nagging injuries) that were bothering him.

"He's playing extremely well right now. He's an incredible player,period."

But Valentine did take himself to task, noting: "As far as my job here, I'm not doing a good job. I didn't get paid to do anything other than get to the playoffs, win a lot of games and be in the thick of things right down to the end or even be in first place. The team is managing is not there. Simpe. So my job has not been a good job, if I had to assess (myself).''

Before Saturday's game, the Sox placed pitcher Felix Doubront on the DL, retroactive to August tenth, with a right knee contusion. The Sox filled Doubront's roster spot by promoting Mauro Gomez from Pawtucket.

Doubront was shut down after making a start in Cleveland last week as the Red Sox expressed concern about his workload after
an injury-shortened 2011 season saw him limited to just 87 23 innings.

In the interm, Doubront was bothered by a sore knee as he threw on the side. The Sox believe he's progressed to the point where he could pitch at the end of next week, but in the meantime, the Sox could utilize his roster spot with Gomez, who is with the big league club for the third time this season.

"We'll see how we can use him,'' said Bobby Valentine of Gomez. "It's better than having a short bench. He's a guy who I think gives you really good at-bats when he's up there.''

Valentine added that Gomez, a first baseman by trade, could see some time at DH with David Ortiz still sidelined. He could also use Gomez at third base, with Will Middlebrooks out for the remainder of the season with a broken wrist.

Lowell Spinners lefthander Brian Johnson, a sandwich pick by the Red Sox this June out of the University of Florida, was struck in the face by a line drive while pitching at the Futures of Fenway doubleheader Saturday.

According to the Red Sox, Johnson suffered "multiple orbital'' fractures on the side of his face. He showed no evidence of suffering a concussion and was resting in a hospital.

David Ortiz, who was set to take batting practice Friday only to change those plans, hit in the cage Saturday before the game.

"He just did soft toss (Friday) in the cage,'' said Valentine, "and he felt fine. It seems that the progression (Saturday) would be BP.''

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

BOSTON - For a bullpen that could use all the help it can get right now, there's the prospect that Koji Uehara could rejoin the Red Sox on Labor Day.

Uehara, who's been out since July 20 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw a bullpen Monday at Fenway that impressed John Farrell.

"He came out of today's work session in good fashion,'' said Farrell. "It was 25 pitches to hitters with good intensity to both his fastball and split. It's been impressive to see how he's handled the volume, and now, three times on the mound, the intensity to his bullpens and BP.''

Next up for Uehara will be a bullpen session Wednesday morning, followed by a live batting practice session Saturday in Oakland.

Since both Pawtucket's and Portland's seasons are over on Labor Day, Uehara won't have the option of going on a rehab assignment to face hitters before being activated.

But the Sox believe that he can build arm strength through these side sessions and BP sessions -- enough so that he could return to the active roster soon.

"We'll re-assess where is after Sunday,'' said Farrell, "and I wouldn't rule out activation [after that]. What we've done with Koji is just review how he feels after each session and we'll take it from there.''

Uehara, 41, is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA, and while he's had a propensity for giving up homers (eight in just 36 innings), he had been throwing better before being injured.

And given the performance of the bullpen in general and the recent poor showings from Matt Barnes, the Sox would welcome Uehara back as soon as he's ready.

"The one thing that Koji has proven to us,'' noted Farrell, "is that, even with limited spring training work [in the past], he's been a very effective pitcher for us and obviously, he has a chance to make a very positive impact once he does return.''

Uehara's progress since late July has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox, who feared at the time of the injury that he might be done for the season.     

"To his credit,'' said Farrell, "he's worked his tail off and advanced fairly rapidly and he's withstanding the intensity that he's put into [the work]. A healthy Koji certainly adds to our bullpen.

 

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Maybe Tim Tebow could be the eighth-inning guy? 

OK, OK. Maybe not. Still, the Red Sox will be among the “roughly half” of the MLB teams who will attend the former Heisman Trophy winner and Patriots’ 2013 training camp phenomenon’s baseball tryout on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Tebow is 29 and hasn’t played organized baseball since he was a junior in high school. He was an All-State performer in Florida back then.

Based on his accuracy and mechanics throwing a football, maybe DH would suit Tebow better than the mound.